A Greener Industry: 4 Ways Agricultural Businesses Can Help the Planet

Agriculture has considerable impact on the environment since it’s essential to everyone on the planet and takes place over wide areas of land. Soil erosion, pollutant run-off, and destruction of natural habitats are common drawbacks of modern agriculture. However, by observing greener practices you can reduce your environmental footprint. Here are some suggestions you can follow for more eco-friendly farming.

Zero Tillage

This is a practice where farmers don’t overturn and dig furrows into the soil prior to planting. Tilling can leave the soil open to drying from the wind and sun, then possibly erosion or the loss of nutrients during heavy rain. No-till methods leave old crops or leaves on top of the soil to reduce these effects. The old plant matter also degrades to form natural compost. Zero tillage is a more cost-effective and safer technique than leaving unprotected, exposed earth.

Conserve Fresh Water

More farmers are using fences around water sources such as streams and ponds to keep livestock out. Herds moving back and forth to drink can erode natural river banks, allowing dirt, animal urine and feces, and contaminants like pesticides to mix with the water. This makes it unhealthy for fish and wildlife as well as people. Instead, farmers can pump water to various stations for livestock through cheap pipes while fencing protects the integrity of the original water source.

Agriculture : Cover Crops

Surrounding or re-planting fields with cover crops can help conserve water and reduce soil erosion from wind and rain. These are usually hardy species planted after harvest time to grow through the winter. In the spring, cover crops like alfalfa or barley can serve as feed for livestock. Beets or lentils may provide food for humans, as well. Cover crops can be simply plowed into the soil when planting time comes, or collected for compost fertilizer.

Organic Fertilizer

Commercial fertilizers are often made with chemicals that can upset the soil balance, kill natural microbes, and wash into water sources. Organic fertilizers like Nature Safe and similar fertilizers are completely nature-friendly. They may be made from processed human or animal waste, compost, and rough plant matter. This might be recycled waste from other public or industrial processes. The fertilizer is often mixed with nutrient-rich natural additives like peat moss. Soils prepared with natural fertilizers tend to be lighter and allow for more air and water to better nourish plant roots.

Today’s profit-driven corporate farms are less conscientious about the ecosystem. But anything you can do to promote greener techniques will provide healthier foods and a safer environment.

Kara Masterson, the author of this article is a freelance writer from Utah.
She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family.

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